Norway Spruce

Norway Spruce

name = Norway Spruce
status = LR/lc | status_system = IUCN2.3

image_width = 240px
image_caption = Norway Spruce
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Pinophyta
classis = Pinopsida
ordo = Pinales
familia = Pinaceae
genus = "Picea"
species = "P. abies"
binomial = "Picea abies"
binomial_authority = (L.) H.Karst.

Norway Spruce ("Picea abies") is a species of spruce native to Europe. It is a large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 35-55 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 1-1.5 m. The shoots are orange-brown and glabrous (hairless). The leaves are needle-like, 12-24 mm long, quadrangular in cross-section (not flattened), and dark green on all four sides with inconspicuous stomatal lines. The cones are 9-17 cm long (the longest of any spruce), and have bluntly to sharply triangular-pointed scale tips. They are green or reddish, maturing brown 5-7 months after pollination. The seeds are black, 4-5 mm long, with a pale brown 15 mm wing.Farjon, A. (1990). "Pinaceae. Drawings and Descriptions of the Genera". Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3-87429-298-3.] Rushforth, K. (1987). "Conifers". Helm ISBN 0-7470-2801-X.] Gymnosperm Database: [ "Picea abies"] ] [IUCN2006|assessors=Conifer Specialist Group|year=1998|id=42318|title=Picea abies|downloaded=12 May 2006] [Den Virtuella Floran: ["Picea abies" distribution (in Swedish, with maps)] ]

The Norway Spruce grows throughout northeast Europe from Norway and Poland eastward, and also in the mountains of central Europe, southwest to the western end of the Alps, and southeast in the Carpathians and Balkans to the extreme north of Greece. The northern limit is in the arctic, just north of 70°N in Norway. Its eastern limit in Russia is hard to define, due to extensive hybridisation and intergradation with the Siberian Spruce ("Picea obovata", syn. "P. abies "subsp." obovata"), but is usually given as the Ural Mountains. However, trees showing some Siberian Spruce characters extend as far west as much of northern Finland, with a few records in northeast Norway. The hybrid is known as "Picea x fennica" (or "P. × "subsp." fennica", if the two taxa are considered subspecies), and can be distinguished by a tendency towards having hairy shoots and cones with smoothly rounded scales.

Populations in southeast Europe tend to have on average longer cones with more pointed scales; these are sometimes distinguished as "Picea abies" var. "acuminata" (Beck) Dallim. & A.B.Jacks., but there is extensive overlap in variation with trees from other parts of the range.

Some botanists treat Siberian Spruce as a subspecies of Norway Spruce, though in their typical forms, they are very distinct, the Siberian Spruce having cones only 5-10 cm long, with smoothly rounded scales, and pubescent (hairy) shoots. Genetically Norway and Siberian Spruces have turned out to be extremely similar and should be considered as two closely related subspecies of "P. abies" [Krutovskii, K.V. & Bergmann, F.: "Introgressive hybridization and phylogenetic relationships between Norway, Picea abies (L.) Karst., and Siberian, P. obovata Ledeb., spruce species studied by isozyme loci." - Heredity 74 (1995): 464-480. ] .

Another spruce with smoothly rounded cone scales and hairy shoots occurs rarely in the central Alps in eastern Switzerland. It is also distinct in having thicker, blue-green leaves. Many texts treat this as a variant of Norway Spruce, but it is as distinct as many other spruces, and appears to be more closely related to Siberian Spruce, Schrenk's Spruce ("P. schrenkiana") from central Asia and Morinda Spruce ("P. smithiana") in the Himalaya. Treated as a distinct species, it takes the name Alpine Spruce ("Picea alpestris" (Brügger) Stein). As with Siberian Spruce, it hybridises extensively with Norway Spruce; pure specimens are rare.

The tallest measured tree, 63 m tall, is in Perucica Virgin Forest, Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

A press release from Umeå University says that a Norway Spruce clone named Old Tjikko, carbon dated as 9,550 years old, is the "oldest living tree." [ [ Umeå University Press Release: World’s oldest living tree discovered in Sweden] . April 16, 2008.] However, Pando, a Quaking Aspen clone, is estimated to be between 80,000 and one million years old. [ [ Quaking Aspen] by the Bryce Canyon National Park Service] [Genetic Variation and the Natural History of Quaking Aspen, Mitton, J. B. & Grant, M. C. (1996). "BioScience" 46 (1): 25-31.] The oldest known individual tree is Methuselah, a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine.

Cultivation and uses

Norway Spruce is one of the most widely planted spruces, both in and outside of its native range, used in forestry for timber and paper production, and as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens. It is also widely planted for use as a Christmas tree. Every Christmas, the Norwegian capital city of Oslo provides the cities of New York, London, Edinburgh and Washington D.C. with a Norwegian spruce, which is placed at the most central square of each city. This is mainly a sign of gratitude for the aid these countries gave during the Second World War.

It is naturalised in some parts of North America, though not so extensively as to be considered an invasive weed tree. It can grow fast when young, up to 1 m per year for the first 25 years under good conditions, but becomes slower once over around 20 m tall.Mitchell, A. F. (1974). "A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe". Collins ISBN 0-00-212035-6]

Several cultivars have been selected for garden use.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Norway spruce — n. a common, evergreen, ornamental spruce (Picea abies) with drooping branchlets, large, brown cones, and shiny, dark green needles …   English World dictionary

  • Norway spruce — paprastoji eglė statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Pušinių šeimos dekoratyvinis, medieninis, vaistinis augalas (Picea abies), paplitęs Europoje. Iš jo gaunamas eterinis aliejus. atitikmenys: lot. Abies excelsa var. columnaris; Abies excelsa… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • Norway spruce — noun a species of spruce native to Europe, Picea abies Syn: European spruce …   Wiktionary

  • Norway spruce — Nor′way spruce′ n. pln a European spruce, Picea abies, having shiny, dark green needles, grown as an ornamental • Etymology: 1725–35 …   From formal English to slang

  • Norway spruce — noun tall pyramidal spruce native to northern Europe having dark green foliage on spreading branches with pendulous branchlets and long pendulous cones • Syn: ↑Picea abies • Hypernyms: ↑spruce …   Useful english dictionary

  • Norway spruce — noun Date: 1797 a widely cultivated spruce (Picea abies) of northern Europe and has a pyramidal shape, spreading branches and pendulous branchlets, dark foliage, and long pendulous cones …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Norway spruce — a European spruce, Picea abies, having shiny, dark green needles, grown as an ornamental. [1725 35] * * * …   Universalium

  • Norway spruce — /nɔweɪ ˈsprus/ (say nawway sproohs) noun a coniferous tree, Picea abies, native of northern and central Europe, much planted for forestry elsewhere …   Australian English dictionary

  • Spruce beer — is a beverage flavored with the buds, needles, or essence of spruce trees. Spruce has been a traditional flavoring ingredient throughout the upper latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere where it is found, often substituting for ingredients… …   Wikipedia

  • Spruce — (spr[udd]s), n. [OE. Spruce or Pruse, Prussia, Prussian. So named because it was first known as a native of Prussia, or because its sprouts were used for making, spruce beer. Cf. Spruce beer, below, {Spruce}, a.] 1. (Bot.) Any coniferous tree of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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